GMIT Castlebar Women's Gaelic football team in All-Ireland Final
GMIT Castlebar Women's Gaelic football team in All-Ireland Final.
Following victories over three Dublin colleges - Froebel College of Education, Blanchardstown I.T. and Colaiste Mhuire Marino the Women's Gaelic football team of GMIT Castlebar travel back to the Capital on Friday March 19th for the final of The Lagan Cup.
The Game will be played as part of the third level Women's Gaelic Football Finals weekend, which is being hosted by Dublin City University and culminates with the showpiece O'Connor cup.
The girls have worked extremely hard this year and a concerted effort from final year students, Lorraine O'Connor, Sinead Mulkeerin and Sandra Blong, not to graduate without a reward for the years of dedication has brought them to the cusp of All-Ireland glory.
They were unlucky not to progress to the final stages of the league earlier in the year losing out on score difference to NUIG, but they put this setback aside to storm through the championships with some fine displays. They will face Carlow Institute of Education in the final and it will their second final in three years so they bring a good pedigree to the game.
At the outset of the championship the girls received a huge setback when Galway senior inter-county player Patricia Gleeson was ruled out for the entire campaign with an injury picked up in a club game for Corofin. Captain Lorraine O'Connor, (who has recently been brought into the Mayo ladies senior squad), deputised at no 8 and with her midfield partner Laura Hanrahan have gone on to dominate that sector.
The wins to date have come courtesy of a free scoring forward line lead by Cavan senior Inter-county star Christine McCutcheon who has proved too much for opposing defences to handle and has contributed several vital goals as well as being the leading points scorer. The great thing about this attack however is the contribution from all areas and Ciara O' Grady has shown that she is keenly aware of where the posts are . While the half forward line of Roisin Gavin, Sinead Mulkeerin and Anna Gallagher have backed the front two ( the competition is played in 13 a-side format) perfectly while never shying away from defensive duties and all three weighing in with scores when needed. Sinead at Centre half forward brings a great deal of experience to the set up, an underage star with Galway her performance on the day will be pivotal, as her strong ball carrying and intelligent distribution can really make the unit around her click.
Obviously the forwards couldn't impress to such an extent without a solid defensive unit and this begins with local girl Katie Roughneen from manulla who has been inspirational all year in goal, with some breathtaking saves. Sandra Blong will be bringing the curtain down on a long distinguished career for the college, ( at both Soccer and Gaelic football), and the Offaly Inter-county player is one of the most determined and effective defenders you are likely to meet and any full backline with her in it will be one that is extremely hard to breach. Denise Ward, Bernadette Gavaghan and Rachel Fallon and are all vying to partner Sandra in a keenly contested position, whoever gets the nod can be depended on to do whatever is needed on the day.
The half back line has been extremely impressive throughout the campaign with Sinead O'Hara finally producing the performances we knew she was capable of for the last three years, if she shakes of a minor injury worry and reproduces her form of late she will have a great influence on the outcome as she commands the pivotal Centre Half back position, has the strength and stamina to stifle the most talented of forwards and is always capable of getting forward to telling effect.
Aideen Fitzpatrick is another who deserves reward at this level for her determination and dedication over the years. Another Cavan woman Aideen is a tough marking wingback, (although she would be just as happy in the forwards,) who will give every ounce for the cause and her determination will inspire those around her to do likewise. Sharon Kenny completes the halfback line and the Galway girl is a relative newcomer to Gaelic football but her athleticism and fitness have meant that the accomplished hockey player has made the transition with ease and has made the wingback slot her own. Jackie Finn Megan Winters and Carol Dunphy will be hoping to make an appearance on the big day
Former GMIT Castlebar Student Diarmuid McCaughey is coaching the team having taken over from mayo senior player Trina McNicholas who did great work with the girls in the early part of the year before having to step back due to work commitments. Sonya Condon is the driving force behind the scenes, forced out of contention with an injury in early season (alongside promising first year Siobhan Sorahan),she has shrugged off the disappointment to take on a hugely important admin role and if the result goes the right way no one will be more deserving of credit or will celebrate with more vigour than the Waterford woman, who would be making a little bit of history as her brother Daithi and cousin Wayne were on the last Castlebar team to bring an All-Ireland GAA title to the college winning the Fergal Maher Cup Hurling
Everybody associated with the college are extremely proud of the girls for their achievements so far and wish them luck in their efforts to bring and All-Ireland title back to the college the town and the county.